Cool Mist Humidifier Buying Guide

Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier

Getting the best cool mist humidifier is important if you want to get the real value of your purchase.

Generally, humidifiers are devices that help prevent a lot of unpleasantness that comes with dry air. They do this by adding water or moisture to indoor air to increase the humidity level because during the winter time it can often be very dry.

Dry air can lead to a lot of unpleasantness like:

  • Bloody noses
  • Cracked lips
  • Itchy skin
  • Irritated throats
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Asthma flare-ups
  • Also ailments such as colds, congestion problems, sinus infections, aggravated respiratory passages and more.

Humidifiers do more than just prevent the unpleasantness and protecting your health, they also protect your home’s wood furnishing as indoor air could cause your wood flooring and wood furnishing to crack, shrink or separate. Having a humidifier handy is the best option as these damages can be expensive to repair.

As there are many cool mist humidifiers on the market and you might be lost fast we will help you to find the best one for you and understand why. 

Before we jump to the guide here is the list of the top 5 best air cool mist humidifiers today.

Top 5 Best Cool Mist Humidifiers


1. Honeywell HCM-350 Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier

Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier

Honeywell has received generally positive reviews from consumers who purchase their products. Although some customers complained about the issue of constant maintenance and replacement of filters, most reviews say their humidifiers work effectively, are quiet and easy to clean.

Honeywell HCM-350 is an affordable console-type cool mist humidifier which uses an evaporative system. It uses UV technology to eliminate impurities like water-bred germs and bacteria.

The humidifier also has a self-regulating system which prevents over humidification of the room.

The HCM-350 lacks a lot of key features like a low water indicator, an automatic shut off feature and a humidistat for monitoring humidity, but it makes up for it with its performance. For a humidifier that covers a room space of 500 sq. ft, the HCM-350 runs quietly, producing only pleasant white noise.

Features

  • Type: Console
  • Room Coverage: 500 sq. ft.
  • Tank Capacity: 1.1 gallons
  • Humidification Performance: 2.3 gallons per 24 hours
  • Controls: Electronic
  • Weight: 8.36 Ibs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Much quieter due to the lack of fans
  • Large room coverage
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • No automatic shut off
  • No low water indicator
  • No humidistat
  • Wick filter requires regular replacement

2. Essick Air AIRCARE MA1201

AIRCARE MA1201 Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier

Essick Air is another top humidifier brand that produces great humidifiers with many positive customer reviews. Although not every customer is happy with Essick Air humidifiers as some customers have complained about issues like the noise levels and the need to refill the tank frequently.

The Essick Air AIRCARE MA1201 is a whole house humidifier with a 3.6-gallon tank. It uses a self-regulating evaporative system and is capable of humidifying up to 3600 sq. ft.

The MA1201 weighs 13.5 Ibs which you should expect for a whole house humidifier. It also comes with many features that make it easy to use like a filter change indicator which lets you know when it’s time to change the wick filter. Other features include a humidistat, auto mode, low water indicator and an automatic shut off.

The main downside of the MA1201 is the noise; most users gave bad reviews on the issue of loud noise even on the low setting. There is also an issue with its dated design and bulky appearance which make look quite unattractive.

However, the MA1201 is still considered one of the best cool mist humidifiers for large homes due to its key features which make it easy to use and its modest price tag.

Features

  • Type: Console
  • Room Coverage: 3600 sq. ft.
  • Tank Capacity: 3.6 gallons
  • Humidification Performance: 10.5 gallons per 24 hours
  • Controls: Electronic
  • Weight: 13.5 Ibs
  • Warranty: 2 years

Pros

  • Comes with an automatic shut off
  • Has the low water indicator feature
  • Very affordable considering it is a whole house humidifier
  • Humidifies quickly
  • Easy to maintain
  • Whole house humidification

Cons

  • Loud
  • Dated design
  • Large and cumbersome
  • Wick filter requires regular replacement

3. Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Visible Cool Mist Humidifier

Vicks V4600 Filter-free, Ultrasonic, Visible Cool Mist Humidifier for Medium rooms

Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Visible Cool Mist Humidifier is a quiet humidifier which works on the ultrasonic humidifier system so it does not require replacement filters. Vick Filter-Free humidifier is a great choice for medium rooms, baby rooms and children rooms due to the fact that it is quiet during use.

It is also easy to maintain and has a 1.2-gallon tank that can give up to 30 hours of soothing mist.

It also comes with many key features like an automatic shut off when the water minimum level and a humidistat for monitoring humidity.

Most customers who have used the Vicks Filter-Free humidifier have given positive reviews with 54% of 942 customer reviews giving it a 5-star rating on Amazon.

Features

  • Room Coverage: 400 sq. ft.
  • Tank Capacity: 1.2 gallons
  • Humidification Performance: 30 hours per fill
  • Weight: 4.7 Ibs

Pros

  • Much quieter due to the lack of fans
  • Does not require replacement filters
  • Comes with an automatic shut off
  • Humidifies quickly
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Leaves white dust
  • Only humidifies small spaces
  • Requires regular cleaning

4. Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic

With more than 60% of 10,000 reviews on Amazon giving a 5-star rating, the Pure Enrichment MistAire XL Humidifier tops as one of the most popular cool mist humidifiers.

The humidifier works on the ultrasonic cool mist technology which means you wouldn’t need replacement filters. It moisturizes the air for up to 16 hours of continuous operation with its 1.5-Liter water tank.

One of the reasons for its popularity is its affordable price. It also comes with an automatic shut off feature, its own cleaning brush, and single and dual mist nozzles.

However, a disadvantage of the MistAire XL is the lack of key features like a low-water indicator feature and a humidistat. The water tank also has a very small opening which makes cleaning and maintenance difficult. Users often complain that the cleaning brush is not enough to get the job done and the humidifier easily cracks or breaks if dropped.

Features

  • Room Coverage: 500 sq. ft.
  • Tank Capacity: 1.0 gallons
  • Humidification Performance: 1.5 gallons per 24 hours
  • Weight: 3.57 Ibs

Pros

  • Much quieter due to the lack of fans
  • Does not require replacement filters
  • Comes with an automatic shut off
  • Humidifies quickly
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Leaves white dust
  • Only humidifies small spaces
  • Requires regular cleaning

5. VicTsing Cool Mist Humidifier

VicTsing Cool Mist Humidifier

VicTsing Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier is another great choice for consumers who are both looking for affordable and effective humidifiers to humidify their homes.

VicTsing Cool Mist Humidifier is quite small with only a 0.53 gallon (2 liters) water tank size, but it is quiet and has key features like a low water indicator feature and an automatic shut off feature but it lacks a humidistat.

Nevertheless, most customers who make up 72% of 1,100 reviews gave it a 5-star rating on Amazon citing generally favorable reviews about its efficiency, effectiveness, and maintenance.

A downside of this humidifier is that it works only small spaces of about 100 – 270 sq. ft. It is the best choice if you want to humidify your baby’s room, bedroom or a medium sized room, but if you want to go larger then this is not the right humidifier for you.

Features

  • Room Coverage: 270 sq. ft.
  • Tank Capacity: 0.55 gallons
  • Weight: 2.45 Ibs

Pros

  • Much quieter due to the lack of fans
  • Does not require replacement filters
  • Comes with an automatic shut off
  • Comes with a low water indicator feature
  • Humidifies quickly
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Leaves white dust
  • Only humidifies small spaces
  • Requires regular cleaning


What is a Cool Mist Humidifier?

A cool mist humidifier is a type of humidifier that produces and releases room-temperature mist. Unlike warm mist humidifies, they don’t add to the room’s ambient temperature.

Cool mist humidifiers include a refillable water tank and either a fan that blows cool air into a room; it might include a diaphragm that vibrates to break water down into a mist.

Cool mist humidifiers are the most popular humidifier choice on the market mostly because they are more affordable compared to warm mist humidifiers, they also work in large areas and are easy to maintain.

On the downside, they require regular maintenance. You would have to refill it frequently, clean it regularly and replace the wick occasionally. Like many other devices, lack of maintenance leads to faults like mold and bacteria in the tank. This makes the air the humidifier produce more harmful than helpful.

You should only buy this type of humidifier if you are 100% sure you are ready to maintain it regularly.

As you go through this buying guide you will find more information on the maintenance of this humidifier to enable you to make the right choice.

Types of Cool Mist Humidifiers

There are three types of cool mist humidifiers with the most common choices being ultrasonic and evaporative cool mist humidifiers.

Evaporative Cool Mist Humidifiers

Evaporative Cool Mist Humidifiers

Evaporative cool mist humidifiers make use of a wick filter that absorbs the water from the tank and filters out impurities. The fan draws in the air in from the room and blows it over the moistened wick. Some of the water evaporates and the water vapor is added to the air which increases the humidity. The fan blows the cooled air back into the room to increase the humidity in the room. 

The air blown out is cooler and cleaner due to the cleansing by the wick filter.

Evaporative cool mist humidifiers are the most common option for buyers because they are cheaper and have been around for a much longer time, so you could say people have gotten used to them.

One thing that makes the evaporative humidifiers a great choice is that they use a self-regulating system, unlike ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers. This self-regulating feature prevents the risk of over-humidifying the room which would be counterproductive.

A downside of the evaporative cool mist humidifiers is that they are pretty loud compared to the ultrasonic humidifiers. If you keep your humidifier in your bedroom, the noise could affect your sleep quality. The noise is caused by the fan in evaporative humidifiers.

Evaporative cool mist humidifiers require frequent maintenance for them to keep working efficiently. The wick filter which removes impurities and prevents minerals from the being spread into the room needs to be replaced regularly.

Pros

  • They use up less energy compared to other types of humidifiers
  • It does not include hot parts or surfaces which makes it childproof and safe for pets.
  • The filter traps impurities which makes the blown air cleaner and healthier.

 Cons

  • Requires regular cleaning to prevent the build-up of mold and bacteria
  • Wick filter need to be replaced regularly
  • The Loud noise would affect sleep quality

Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifiers

Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifiers

Rather than a fan, ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers use a diaphragm that vibrates at an ultrasonic speed to break down water into a mist, although a silent fan (in some models) pushes the mist up and out into the room.

This is the popular choice for consumers who find evaporative cool mist humidifies too loud and its constant need for maintenance too annoying. 

Ultrasonic humidifiers don’t use wick filters so you don’t have to worry about replacing anything, although you will still have to refill the tank and clean it occasionally.

Ultrasonic humidifiers can either emit cool mist only, warm mist only or both. Ultrasonic humidifiers that can emit both cool and warm mist are called dual mist ultrasonic humidifiers.

The Dual mist and cool mist ultrasonic humidifiers are the popular choices among the three.

The main downside of ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers is that in the process of breaking water to create a mist, white dust is also produced which will spread around the room during use.

Pros                                                                                                                      

  • Much quieter due to the lack of fans
  • They use up less energy compared to other types of humidifiers
  • Does not require replacement of wick or filters
  • Easy to maintain
  • Easier to use compared to other humidifiers
  • It does not include hot parts or surfaces which make it childproof and safe for pets.

Cons

  • They are costlier than evaporative humidifiers
  • They can only humidify small spaces
  • They produce dust that will settle in the room. It is advised to use only distilled or dematerialized water.
  • Requires regular cleaning to prevent the build-up of mold and bacteria

Impeller Humidifiers

Impeller Humidifiers

Compared to the evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers, Impeller humidifiers are the least popular choice for consumers. There is a continuous decline of usage and demand for this humidifier which might be a result of its lack of key features.

Impeller humidifiers make use of rotating disc to throw water at a diffuser. This water then breaks into very fine droplets which float out into the air. To the human eye, these droplets are seen as cool mist released from the humidifier.

The impeller humidifier also houses a water tank that needs be cleaned regularly to avoid build-up of bacteria and mold.  

Pros

  • They use up less energy compared to other types of humidifiers
  • Does not require replacement of wick or filters
  • It does not include hot parts or surfaces which make it childproof and safe for pets.
  • Covers larger areas

Cons

  • It is quite noisy due to the rotating discs
  • They produce dust that will settle in the room. It is advised to use only distilled or dematerialized water
  • Requires regular cleaning to prevent the build-up of mold and bacteria

Things to Consider When Buying a Cool Mist Humidifier

When picking out a specific model of cool mist humidifiers, there are some factors you need to first consider before settling for that model.

Cost

Cost of Cool mist humidifiers ranges from $20 to over $600. The reason for the price differences is due to a number of factors. One of these factors includes the features present in the models. A model with a low water indicator feature, an automatic shut off feature and a humidistat will definitely cost more than one which lacks these features.

However, the main factor affecting the price of different models is the amount of space the humidifier covers – a whole house humidifier will cost you more than one that only works small spaces.

Another factor is the type of cool mist humidifier you’re going for. Ultrasonic humidifiers tend to cost more than evaporative humidifiers for a similar amount of coverage.

Also, evaporative cool mist humidifiers also come with an extra cost as you have to replace the filter regularly compared to the ultrasonic humidifier which does not require filter replacements.

Maintenance

How to Clean A Humidifier

Every type of humidifier requires constant maintenance for it to keep functioning properly. Both types require constant tank refills which could be twice or thrice a day depending on the tank capacity of your model.

Evaporative humidifiers require regular filter replacement to keep the mist clean and healthy while ultrasonic humidifiers emit white dust, so you’d have to do some dusting and cleaning around the room after use.

Both humidifiers require regular cleaning to avoid build-up of mold and bacteria.

When picking a humidifier, always go with the one you would easily maintain to prevent health complications from unclean air and waste of resources due to early damage or breakage.

Space

If you’re going for affordable humidifiers to humidify your whole house, then you would need more than one as most affordable humidifiers are only designed to humidify small spaces.

Several affordable humidifiers cover a room of up to 270 to 500 sq. ft. which is a great option if you want to humidify only a small room or just your reading area.

For larger room coverage or whole house coverage, you’ll need to look for humidifiers that can cover wider spaces like about 500 to 3000 sq. ft.

Room coverage is usually listed on the product specifications page (if you’re buying from Amazon), of every cool mist humidifier. Always check if it suits your needs before purchasing. You can also measure the amount of space that needs to be humidified before picking a model.

Noise

If you’re placing your humidifier in your bedroom, then you need to consider whether the noise will affect your ability to sleep.

Unlike evaporative humidifiers, ultrasonic humidifiers are quieter due to the lack of fans. The fans in evaporative humidifiers tend to be noisy and loud during use.

You should also consider the size of the humidifier you are searching for since large humidifiers tend to produce more noise than small portable humidifiers.

Tank Capacity

Humidifier tank capacity

Most users of small humidifiers complain about having to refill constantly. If you’re someone who would find that pretty annoying then you would want to go for a humidifier with a larger tank capacity.

However, the tank capacity is directly proportional to the amount of space the humidifier covers.

Features

Some humidifiers come with some key features that make them better in comparison to others. These features make them easy to use and maintain and also make them last longer.

Humidistat – A humidistat monitors the humidity in the room. A humidistat works by automatically turning off the humidifier when your set humidity level has been reached.

Auto Shutoff – This works in hand with the humidistat when the level of desired humidity is reached. Also, the auto shut off features shuts off the humidifier when the water in the tank gets too low.

Low water indicator – This features including a lighting system. In most cases, a green LED light signals a filled tank and red LED light signals a low water tank.

Combination Models – Several humidifiers offer settings for both warm mist and cool mist. This can be advantageous if you want to switch between them during different seasons.

Timer – The timer feature would come in handy especially if you don’t want the humidifier running all the time. The timer will automatically turn on and off the humidifier at the set time. This can help prevent your room from becoming too humid and also save you from having to refill the tank often.

Advantages of Cool Mist Humidifiers over Warm Mist Humidifiers

Although cool mist humidifiers and warm mist humidifiers are equally effective at humidifying the air, cool mist humidifiers do have some advantages over warm mist humidifiers.

Affordable – Cool mist humidifiers are generally more affordable both during purchase and long-term usage compared to warm mist humidifiers. This is because they use simpler systems of operation and do not require heating systems.

Larger room coverage – Cool mist humidors are able to cover large areas up to 3600 sq. ft compared to warm humidifiers which perform best in small areas.

Energy efficient – Cool mist humidifiers consume less amount of energy compared to warm mist humidifiers since they don’t need to heat water to produce steam.

Safer around children and pets – Cool mist humidifiers do not use a heating system, unlike warm mist humidifiers which produce steam by using high heat. This can cause parts of the humidifier to become quite hot during use which makes them unsafe to be around children and pets.

Disadvantages of cool mist humidifiers

High maintenance – Cool mist humidifiers require constant maintenance to prevent the build-up of bacteria and mold. This is because cool mist humidifiers make use of room temperature which increases the chances of these organisms growing within the tank and the wick filter.

Some cool mist humidifiers required weekly cleaning which might be annoying to some people. If the humidifier is not kept clean it will not only reduce its efficiency and effectiveness but also spread bacteria, mold, and viruses through the mist it produces.

Noise – With evaporative and impeller humidifiers you should expect some noise due to the fans and rotating discs. Also, the larger the humidifier, the more noise it will produce.

However, ultrasonic humidifiers are generally quieter regardless of whether it is a warm or cool mist humidifier.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is white dust and how to prevent it?

For most ultrasonic humidifier users, white dust is a common problem.

White dust is caused by mineral content present in water that goes into a humidifier. When a humidifier uses tap water, the mist it produces leaves dried mineral deposits known as white dust on surfaces, bed clothing, and furniture. This could be problematic for people with respiratory health conditions like allergies and asthma.

White dust can simply be prevented by using distilled or demineralized water for your humidifier or you would purchase a demineralization cartridge for your humidifier which can trap minerals before they become airborne. The latter option is more affordable since distilled water is quite expensive.

How often do I have to change the wick filter?

How often you should change the wick filter depends on your usage of the humidifier. Wick filters generally last from 1 month to 3 months, for some people, it might be shorter or longer.

Changing your wick filter is very important since it can be breeding grounds for bacteria and mold which will lead to clogging.

A clogged wick filter reduces the efficiency of your humidifier causing it to use up more energy to produce mist than it normally should. This will cause the humidifier to burn out quickly and reduce its longevity.

This can be prevented through regular checks of the wick filter for signs of bacterial and mold growth, which is evident by a darkening of the filter. Also, signs like reduced humidity output compared to when it was first used at similar settings would signal dirty wick filter.

If dirty, you can either clean or replace the wick filter. Some wick filters can easily be cleaned by rinsing them under running water and then allowing them to soak in a mixture of water and white vinegar for 30 minutes. If you’ve done this and your humidifier still doesn’t function properly, then you should replace the wick filter.

Final Thoughts

Getting the right cool mist humidifier is not only important for relieving of the unpleasantness that comes with dry air, but it is also important to get to the right model that works effectively, lasts longer and wouldn’t trouble your sleep.

Always make sure you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of any humidifier model you wish to purchase and always use this buying guide to help you make the right choice.


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Posted in BLOG, Humidifiers, Indoor Air Quality and tagged , , , , , , , , .

My name is Ryan. I have had a hard time dealing with my allergies. Happily, I found that an air purifier was effective to ease my allergy symptoms. I spent a lot of time researching the best air purifier. I know how hard it can be to find the suitable one.

During the reading period, I also read a lot about humidifiers and dehumidifiers. I learned the mechanisms behind the technologies as well as the manufacturers and organizations within the industry.

I now feel convinced that I have built a guide that shows you all you need to know about air purifiers, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers. So I came up with the idea of creating this website.

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